Are we done yet? I know, I know, I’m asking myself the same thing. We’re on Part III of the Metwo Strikes Back movie coverage! If you’d like a more concise overview of the movie, I suggest listening to the PUCL Movie Club episode.
Due to some unforeseen circumstances, the coverage of this movie took me a LONG time.
Today’s Movie: Pokémon: The First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back
Coming in around the 50th minute, we’ve got only an episode’s-worth of content to cover. Just as a quick review, we followed Ash to a mysterious island controlled by Mewtwo. Mewtwo’s mission, it turns out, is to rebuild the world in its image. He challenges the trainers he invited to a battle. Their Pokemon against his clones. Every single trainer (including Ash) loses the battle at which point Mewtwo unleashes black Pokeballs with eyes that can capture any Pokemon (including Pokemon within their regular Pokeballs).
The black Pokeballs fly off to a lab where they are scanned and clones of those Pokemon are released. Before the process can finish, Ash disrupts the machine while trying to save Pikachu. As part of that disruption, all of the original Pokemon are released to their trainers. And now you’re caught up!
Mewtwo stares down the invited trainers in his stadium and tells them that while they are free for the time being, he is just about ready to unleash his plan. Behind him, his new clones join him. However, there is an explosion and Ash walks out of it.
He tells Mewtwo he will stop him and he’s followed by all of the original Pokemon, his and the other trainers’. Ash runs up to Mewtwo in order to battle him one-on-one but Mewtwo’s psychic powers send Ash flying. Just before he crashes into a stone statute, and fall to his death, a psychic bubble stops him. Mew makes its first public appearance.
Mewtwo recognizes Mew and sends a psychic ball attack at it, one after another as Mew dodges with ease and laughs. They stop and Mewtwo addresses his original and claims to be superior. He then ascends and chases Mew above the stadium. Mew deftly dodges.
Mewtwo throws some kind of black ball of psychic energy, hitting Mew. Mew flies off into the clouds and comes back with an attack that crashes Mewtwo into the building.
Then Mew starts its own speech about heart of the car–. I mean, that a Pokemon’s real power comes from its heart, not its abilities. Mewtwo disagrees and sends another psychic blast out.
The stadium starts to fall apart. Mewtwo challenges Mew’s notion that Mewtwo only values its Pokemon’s special abilities by suppressing them with his psychic energy.
The clones attack the originals and they all face off. Ash strains to get out of a chasm created by Mewtwo’s previous blast only to witness the fight below.
Some sad music plays in the background as the Pokemon fight using their raw strength. Now, I know this is supposed to be a really moving touching moment but Pokemon fight ALL the time. I wonder why it should seem so brutal for these Pokemon to face off without the assistance of Razor Leaf, Water Gun, and other attacks.
Note: I’m not sure if this is an animation error but in most instances the clones don’t bear the clone markings.
Meanwhile, Mewtwo and Mew square off in these bouncy energy shields: Mewtwo enveloped by a blue energy ball, and Mew by a pink one. Ash climbs down into the mayhem only to witness his Pikachu getting its butt kicked. And along with it, all the other Pokemon falling to the ground out of exhaustion.
Nurse Joy remarks that Pokemon aren’t meant to fight…not like this at least. The humans all remark how wrong this all is, how horrible this kind of fighting is, and how Mewtwo should understand the pain he’s causing. Meanwhile, I don’t understand how this is any different than usual battling.
Even Team Rocket talks about how horrible fighting is. Jessie and James promise to never fight again. Meowth finally meets its counterpart but they end up not fighting, instead they talk. Turns out the clone Meowth is pretty philosophical and talks about how the clones and the originals have a lot in common. Indeed, Meowth remarks that they should focus on what’s the same rather than different between them.
Mew and Mewtwo keep up their fight while Ash ascends the various statues in the stadium. I’m not sure where he’s headed but he watches Pikachu get beaten down time and time again. Pikachu refuses to fight, it seems.
Ash climbs down. The clone Pikachu tries to provoke Pikachu but isn’t successful, it keeps it attacks up but Pikachu just takes it. You can see the desperation in the clone’s eyes as it is fighting an enemy that won’t hit back.
Ash makes it all the way down and vows to stop the Pokemon. Brock and Misty comment on how the clones are ready to fight to the death. And Ash brings up that someone has to take a stand, and refuse to fight, just like Pikachu is doing.
The Pikachu clone collapses on Pikachu from exhaustion. Mew and Mewtwo take their fight to the floor of the stadium. Their energies tangle and untangle, constantly fighting.
As our young hero surveys the collapsed Pokemon around him, he runs into another clash of Mew and Mewtwo’s energy attacks. He is absorbed in a bright ball of light. The ball explodes.
Ash collapses and Pikachu rushes to him. He seems to have turned to stone. Then, probably the most heart-breaking moment of the entire Pokemon franchise happens. Pikachu desperately tries to wake Ash up. It pushes and prods him. The Pokemon around wake up and see Pikachu shock Ash’s body in hopes of reviving him.
Pikachu keeps going, exhausting all its energy but Ash doesn’t wake up. The Pokemon sheds tears, and all the other Pokemon shed their tears along with it, both clones and the originals. Their tears transform into sparkles that float toward Ash’s body. Mewtwo and Mew watch the sparkling tears gather over Ash’s body.
Lots of pictures, I know, but this is a huge moment for both the movie and the franchise. Ash’s body somehow absorbs those tears and his body turns blue. A beam of light lights up the island and turns Ash back to his human self. At this point, I’m in tears as well.
Pikachu runs up to Ash and hugs him. The clones and originals all growl and turn toward each other in some kind of understanding. Even the trainers do so, too.
Note: I had a small theory that the 3 trainers that made it to the island before Ash were the original Kanto trio that got Oak’s starter Pokemon. The theory broke apart rather quickly upon realization that Ash would have known them since they would be all from the same small town. On top of that, while there was a trainer with a blue shirt and a red one, the last trainer wore purple.
Mew and Mewtwo float above the stadium. Mewtwo muses about the situation. A human sacrificed himself to save the Pokemon. Mewtwo gives its famous speech and utters the quote that was hear round the world:
I see now that the circumstances of one’s birth are irrelevant. it is what you do with the gift of life that determines who you are.
Mewtwo uses his psychic powers to lift all of the clones from the ground. They float toward him and they all depart. Ash asks Mewtwo where he’s headed and he replies that they are headed to a place where Mewtwo can learn that which Ash’s heart already knows so well. We see this place in the television special called Mewtwo Returns.
At this point, Mewtwo transports all the trainers and their Pokemon, erasing their memories of all these events. They are back at the dock, and it seems like time was rewound. No one had departed for the island yet. Nurse Joy makes her way through the crowd as Officer Jenny delivers her news about the storm, and informs everyone that the Pokemon Center is open to everyone who needs a place to stay.
Ash, Misty, and Brock are there too and Ash wonders why they’re there in the first place. Officer Jenny calls out to tell everyone that the storm suddenly disappeared.
The trio run out and Ash notices a Pokemon flying through the clouds.
But none of the others see it. Ash recalls seeing a very rare Pokemon on the day he left Palette Town.
And that’s it! We finished the movie, finally! Wait, wait. What about Team Rocket?
Team Rocket never had their memory wiped and they stayed on the island which was now covered in green grass and was a nice little paradise.